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Nicole Cosgrove


The Pug is a small purebred that originates from China. It is known to be quite a clown when it comes to the antics it can get up to, and because it loves to show off. They were bred to be lap dogs hundreds of years ago and today are still favored in that role.

The Pug is a very popular dog for its looks, its funny noises and its funny antics. But keep in mind it does not do well in high heat, it needs to be looked after for its breathing problems and it is a stubborn dog so training can be difficult as can house breaking.

Pugs like to eat so obesity is a problem and because their eyes are so prominent they are prone to injuries to them. It will want to be around you or on top of you all the time so don’t get a Pug if you do not want a clingy dog. It is very loyal and loving and there is quite an interesting community of Pug owners to share antics, costumes and joy in the breed together.

Here is the Pug at a Glance
Name Pug
Other Names Carlin, Chinese Pug Dog, Dutch Bulldog,
Nicknames Mops, Dutch Mastiff
Origin China
Average size Small
Average weight 14 to 18 pounds
Average height 10 to 14 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Fine, short and smooth
Hypoallergenic No
Color Apricot, fawn, black and silver
Popularity Very popular – ranked 33rd by the AKC
Intelligence Above average – Often they are perceived as being one of the dumber dogs but in fact they are brighter than most give them credit for
Tolerance to heat Low – Not good in even just warm climates, easily overheats
Tolerance to cold Moderate – Also need watching in cool and cold climates
Shedding Constant – be prepared for a lot of loose hair
Drooling Some slobber occurs
Obesity Very prone to obesity – food and exercise must be monitored
Grooming/brushing Easy to brush – brush daily to keep up with loose hair
Barking Rare to occasional – does make a lot of other noises though, snorting, snoring, snuffling, grunting!
Exercise needs Slightly active – some physical exercise is important for health reasons
Trainability Moderately hard – Pug is a stubborn dog so patience is needed
Friendliness Very friendly – it is a happy and social dog
Good first dog Good to very good – be prepared for tough training though
Good family pet Very good – makes a great family dog but not a fetch the ball and play type of dog
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good with socialization – can get jealous when other pets get attention
Good with strangers Very good – it is an approachable dog
Good apartment dog Excellent – its size make it a great apartment dog
Handles alone time well Low – it is not a dog that can be left alone for long periods and can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Some health issues are common with the pug some serious and some not so serious such as skin problems, eye problems, allergies, breathing problems, overheating, Hip dysplasia and more
Medical expenses $435 a year which includes its pet insurance too
Food expenses $75 for dry dog food and treats – costs could rise with more expensive brands
Miscellaneous expenses $195 a year for licensing, basic training, toys and other miscellaneous costs
Average annual expense $705 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Biting Statistics Attacks doing bodily harm: 1 Maimings: 1 Child Victims: 1 Deaths: 0

The Pug’s Beginnings

The Pug is a Chinese breed dating back as far as 200 B.C. Some think they may be related to the Tibetan Masitff. The Pug was a bred to be a companion to the wealthy and royal Chinese families and they are found to be valued by many Chinese emperors and empresses. It was not uncommon for their treasured Pugs to have their own soldiers to guard them!

In the late 1500s the Chinese began to trade more with Europe and Dutch traders brought back the Pug with them calling it Mopshond. Royal families across Europe soon became enamored of the dog. In Holland it became the House of Orange’s official dog after one supposedly saved the King’s life by warning of an attack from Spain. When William of Orange came to take the English throne he brought his Pugs with him.

The painter William Hogarth has depicted Pugs in many of his famous paintings. Goya too has captured them. Depending on where in Europe you were depended on what the Pug was called. Dogullo in Spain, Mops in Germany, Carlin in France and Caganlino in Italy.

In the early 19th century the breed was standardized and in England there became two dominant lines, the Morrison line based on the Queen Charlotte’s royal dogs and the other line based on dogs imported by Lord and Lady d’Eresby. However in China it was a dog still only bred by the royal families. In the mid 19th century when Britain invaded China some pure Chinese Pugs were brought back to England for breeding. They were bred with the English lines and that led to the modern Pug known now. In the Victorian era Pugs were very popular since the Queen herself was known to be a fan and a breeder herself.

New Lease on Life

In the late 19th century they were brought to the U.S and were recognized by the AKC in 1885. They were popular at first taking part in shows and becoming a family companion. But then it fell out of favor. The Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931. Over the years the Pug became popular again once more. Today it has talents in performing tricks and watchdog and is ranked 33rd by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

It is a small dog weighing 14 to 18 pounds and standing 10 to 14 inches tall. It has a double coat that is short, fine and smooth. Typical colors are black, fawn, silver and apricot and it has a black muzzle that is short and flat. Its face is deeply wrinkled and it has large, prominent dark eyes in a round head. The ears are button or rose shaped and are thin and small.

Its tail is set high and curls over its back, if wanting a show dog the judges there prefer it to have a double curl. It has a deep barrel chest and short legs and its dewclaws are more often than not, removed. Its body is compact and strong and its feet are small with black nails.

The Inner Pug


Pugs are a very cheerful and friendly dog, happy and out going, loving and affectionate. It will make you smile and will also exasperate you at times with its antics and its mischievous sense of humor. It is a sweet and gentle dog but it does have a strong stubborn side so it is not always going to be agreeable or go along with what you want! It is intelligent and it is surprisingly brave and quite alert. It will bark to alert you if an intruder tries to break in.

While Pugs are certainly playful it is not a dog that will want to retrieve for you or go hunting or anything like that. Its purpose is to be a companion and it is very good at that role. It will be very loyal and will worship your lap and crave your attention. A Pug needs to be worshiped in return and get lots of attention to be at its happiest. It will follow you around the house to be closer to you.

It is not a terribly active dog, it is happy to lay around with you and nap a lot but it will have moments of play in between. It does snore and grunt and snuffle a lot when it is playing but it does not bark a lot. Also be ready for its gas! It is easy to spoil Pugs but they then can become very difficult and overly demanding so make the effort not to treat it like a spoiled baby. It is an intuitive dog and will adapt to your mood whether it is time for play and teasing or time for quiet.

Living with a Pug

What will training look like?

As adorable and appealing as the Pug may be, there is no doubt their stubborn nature means this is not an easy dog to train. It is best not with a new owner but with an experienced one. Professional training schools or trainers can be used if needed. Training will involve a lot of patience, being very firm and staying in control and consistency. It will respond very well to the use of treats, and other positive approaches like rewarding successes, encouragement and praise. Avoid punishments and scolding.

Early socialization is also an vital part of being a dog owner. It will see the Pug become a better dog, more well rounded, better able to deal with different people and locations, and more trustworthy. Pugs who do not have strong owners can display unwanted behavior, become jealous, start guarding toys and furniture and so on.

How active is the Pug?

The Pug is well suited to live in a small space like an apartment with its size and its low activity level. Pug puppies will be more playful and energetic, when they get to adulthood they then are very happy taking lots of naps with occasional moments of craziness or showing off. It does of course need some exercise though to keep it healthy and once you drag it off the couch it won’t mind it too much! Take it for a couple of 15 minute walks a day and treat it to off leash time somewhere like a dog park.

Keep in mind that because of its flat muzzle it can have breathing problems and it is not able to cool itself down the way other dogs can. Take it out when it is cooler and make sure it has a chance to cool down and does not over do it.

Caring for the Pug

Grooming needs

In terms of grooming the Pug will not need a lot of trimming or stripping but it does shed a lot so it will need daily brushing. The coat being short is easy to brush so daily brushing will help keep the coat free of some of that loose hair. It will also move the natural oils around its body to keep the coat looking shiny and healthy. You will need to be able to deal with loose hair on furnishings and clothing. It will need a bath occasionally just when it gets really dirty or smelly. Too often will damage those aforementioned natural oils.

Its nails will need to be trimmed when they get too long. There are dog nail clippers you can buy but take the time to learn about dog nails as they are not like ours. Dog nails in the lower section have blood vessels and nerves in them. Cutting into those will not only cause bleeding it will really hurt your Pug. Brush its teeth two to three times a week and check its ears once a week for infection. Give them a wipe clean using an ear cleanser and cotton ball or damp cloth. You should also give its wrinkles a wipe daily and make sure when they get wet that you dry them properly.

Feeding Time

It is important to feed your Pug the right amount of food each day and to not allow it to graze or to get used to table scraps. It loves to eat and is good at getting you to give it tasty morsels or treats. It is however prone to obesity so key to controlling its weight is to control the food and exercise. How much exactly will depend on its weight, health, metabolism, age and level of activity but it is probably going to be close to ½ to 1 cup a day of a good quality dry dog food. This should be divided into two meals.

How they get on with children

Socialized Pugs are good with children, they play together, get up to funny antics and such together and are affectionate towards each other. It is a small dog but it is not delicate so it is a good option if you want a small breed but are concerned about delicate or fragile dogs around your children! However keep in mind Pugs do not play with balls or play fetch or play soccer so children are not going to get that kind of playmate.

It gets on well with other pets though they can get jealous if those pets are getting attention and especially if they get your lap time! It also gets on very well with other dogs.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

Pugs have a life span of 12 to 15 years which is quite a nice length of time but there are many health issues it can be prone to such as Skin problems, PDE, Epilepsy, Nerve Degeneration, Eye problems, Allergies, Demodectic Mange, Staph Infection, Yeast Infection, Hemi-vertebrae, mast cell tumors, Hip Dysplasia, Legg-Perthes, Patellar Luxation and Vaccination Sensitivity.

Biting Statistics

Looking at reports of dog attacks against people that did bodily harm in America or Canada over the last 34 years, the Pug has been named in one incident. This was a maiming which means the victim, in this case a child, was left disfigured, scarred or lost a limb. This is not a dog to be concerned about when it comes to aggression and puts it in the bottom 30% of dog attacks.

Choosing a dog that suits your own activity level and living arrangements is an important part of having a dog less likely to snap or act out. Any dog can become aggressive given certain conditions or situations. However a dog is less likely to be involved in any incidents if it is well exercised and socialized, well fed and cared for and well trained.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

On average a pet Pug from a good breeder is going to cost about $800. Buying from a good breeder means you can have better control over the line your Pug comes from and its health. If you want to pay less you are giving that up. Take care though about buying from places like Puppy mills. For show Pugs from top breeders that price is up in the several thousands. At the other end you could pay $50 to $200 and get a Pug from a rescue or shelter but it is likely to be an adult dog.

Once you have a puppy sourced you are going to need some essentials like a crate, carrier, collar, leash and food bowls. These will cost about $120. When you have the puppy there are some initial medical actions to be taken. Have a vet examine it, draw some blood tests, deworm it, give it its shots if they are not up to date courtesy of the breeder, micro chip it and spay or neuter it. This will cost about $160.

Other basic medical needs on an annual basis will be check ups, shots, flea and tick prevention and pet insurance. This will be about $435 a year.

Food for your Pug is not going to be too expensive as long as you do not use fancy brands but still use a good quality dry food. Expect annual costs for food and treats to be about $75.

Other costs will be a license each year, basic training for as long as it is needed, toys, and a few other miscellaneous costs that are bound to come up for $195 a year.

Annual costs to own a Pug can be expected to begin at $705.


Looking for a Pug Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

Popular Pug Mixes

Pug and Chihuahua Mix
General Information
Size Small
Height 6 to 12 inches
Weight 10 to 20 pounds
Life span 10 to 15 years
Touchiness Some
Barking Moderate
Activity Low to moderate
Breed Traits



Can be

Dachshund, Pug Mix
General Information
Size Small to medium
Height Up to 11 inches
Weight 15 to 25 pounds
Life span 12 to 15 years
Touchiness Somewhat sensitive
Barking Frequent
Activity Slightly active
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Affectionate dog
Sweet and loving
Fairly intelligent
Good Family Pet
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Miniature Bulldog
Miniature Bulldog
Bulldog and Pug Mix
General Information
Size Medium
Weight 20 to 40 pounds
Height 12 to 16 inches
Life span 9 to 13 years
Touchiness Sensitive
Barking Rare
Activity Moderate
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Good Family Pet



Pug, Miniature Pinscher Mix
General Information
Size Small
Height 10 to 14 inches
Weight 12 to 22 pounds
Life span 12 to 15 years
Touchiness Quite sensitive
Barking Frequent
Activity Fairly active
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Excitable and Happy
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Tendency to get Fat
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Ori Pei
Ori Pei
Shar-Pei and Pug Mix
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Height 12 to 15 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Touchiness Moderate
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Activity Slightly active
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Featured Image Credit: Praisaeng, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.